This paper will present the results of an investigation into requirements for existing software and hardware solutions for open
digital communication architectures that support weapon subsystem integration. The underlying requirements of such a
communication architecture would be to achieve the lowest latency possible at a reasonable cost point with respect to the mission
objective of the weapon. The determination of the latency requirements of the open architecture software and hardware were
derived through the use of control system and stability margins analyses. Studies were performed on the throughput and latency
of different existing communication transport methods. The two architectures that were tested in this study include Data
Distribution Service (DDS) and Modular Open Network Architecture (MONARCH). This paper defines what levels of latency
can be achieved with current technology and how this capability may translate to future weapons. The requirements moving
forward within communications solutions are discussed.
The overarching objective for Flexible Weapons is to replace current inventory weapons that will not fully utilize the increased capabilities of 6th generation platforms, with a single weapons kit made up of flexible, open architecture components. Flexible Weapon will develop a common architecture to enable modular subsystems to achieve flexible weapons capability while allowing technology refresh at the pace of technology discovery in an affordable and sustainable design. The various combinations of weapons to address multiple missions must be 100% compatible with 6th generation delivery platforms (fighters, bombers, RPAs) and backwards compatible with 4th and 5th generation platforms.
The Air Force Research Laboratory (AFRL) has postulated a new weapons concept known as Flexible Weapons to define and develop technologies addressing a number of challenges. Initial studies on capability attributes of this concept have been conducted and AFRL plans to continue systems engineering studies to quantify metrics against which the value of capabilities can be assessed. An important aspect of Flexible Weapons is having a modular “plug-n-play” hardware and software solution, supported by an Open Architecture and Universal Armament Interface (UAI) common interfaces. The modular aspect of Flexible Weapons is a means to successfully achieving interoperability and composability at the weapon level. Interoperability allows for vendor competition, timely technology refresh, and avoids costs by ensuring standard interfaces widely supported in industry, rather than an interface unique to a particular vendor. Composability provides for the means to arrange an open end set of useful weapon systems configurations. The openness of Flexible Weapons is important because it broadens the set of computing technologies, software updates, and other technologies to be introduced into the weapon system, providing the warfighter with new capabilities at lower costs across the life cycle. One of the most critical steps in establishing a Modular, Open Systems Architecture (MOSA) for weapons is the validation of compliance with the standard.
Conference Committee Involvement (1)
Open Architecture/Open Business Model Net-Centric Systems and Defense Transformation 2018